December 29 Energy News

December 29, 2016


¶ “Solar is Clean, Popular and Under Attack” • Let’s start with the good news. Solar energy is growing and more popular than ever. … Now here’s the bad news. As solar power has grown, it has increasingly been attacked by entrenched energy interests who see rooftop solar as an existential threat to their bottom line. [Gotham Gazette]

Solar panel installation (SolarCity)

Solar panel installation (SolarCity)

¶ “The French nuclear outages of 2016: the backstory” • While nuclear power is often presented as the only reliable and stable low-carbon alternative to fossil fuels, the technology can also be subject to long periods of uncertainty. This year, 22 French nuclear reactors were taken offline unexpectedly due to a single common safety issue. [ICIS]

Science and Technology:

¶ Momentum for the climate is building in more ways than one. Earth’s climate flashed red alert several times this year with symptoms of dis-ease. But at the same time it can be argued an inflection point has been breached in both human resolve and the energy economy needed to slow and eventually reverse Climate Change. [WPEC]

800 thousand years of CO2

800 thousand years of CO2


¶ The global market for boilers, turbines, and generators may decrease from a cumulative $318 billion during the 2010-2015 period to $241 billion between now and 2020, according to a report from GlobalData. The report says an increased focus on renewable energy sources and environmental issues will drive the decrease. [PennEnergy]

¶ Mexico’s installed clean power capacity reached 20,160 MW at the end of June 2016, and the country is preparing for solid growth in solar and onshore wind power over the coming years. Clean power plants produced 30.6 TWh in the 12 months under review, accounting for 19.68% of the country’s total generation. [SeeNews Renewables]

Solar park in Mexico (Author: Presidencia de la República Mexicana, CC BY-SA)

Solar park in Mexico (Author:
Presidencia de la República Mexicana, CC BY-SA)

¶ The number of renewable energy projects in Morocco grew by 40% over the first ten months of 2016, data from the Ministry of Economy and Finance shows. Partly due to this growth, electric generation in the country rose 2.3% year-on-year from January till October, with independent power generation rising by 3.6% on the year. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ By all yardsticks, 2016 was a watershed year for India, when solar tariff slumped to ₹4 per unit (6¢/kWh) and wind projects received a major push. The government is set to switch gears in 2017 to make India a hub for one of the largest installations of clean energy sources, as prepares to achieve 175 GW of clean energy by 2022. []

Wind turbines at sunset

Wind turbines at sunset

¶ The head of research, technology and innovation for Engie
SA thinks the cost of solar power will drop below $10/MWh (1¢/kWh) before 2025 in the world’s sunniest places. An Engie study of the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region showed it could run entirely on renewable energy for about 20% less than the price of electricity today. [Gas 2.0]


¶ The Amazon Wind Farm US East, located on 22,000 acres of farmland near Elizabeth City, North Carolina, is the first utility-scale wind farm in the state and maybe the Southeast US. By the start of the New Year, it will be churning out electricity. The wind farm’s 104 turbines sit on land leased from 60 local landowners. [Digital Journal]

Wind power may be the future for Southeastern US.

Wind power may be the future for Southeastern US.

¶ Tesla and Panasonic have revealed their plans to start making PV cells and modules in Buffalo, New York. The new factory is already under development by none other but SolarCity Corporation, which was recently acquired by Tesla. Tesla and Panasonic are also working together in the battery megafactory. [The Green Optimistic]

¶ Eversource Energy invested $940 million in 2016 to improve and maintain the Massachusetts power grid, the company announced this week. The stated goal of the grid modernization effort is to increase the “efficiency, reliability and resiliency” of the electric system and make it less vulnerable to weather-related outages. []

Power grid maintenance and upgrades (Republican File)

Power grid maintenance and upgrades (Republican File)

¶ Connecticut regulators gave the final permit it needs to a proposed 63.3-MW energy generation complex powered by fuel-cells, the project’s manager said. The state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection issued an air permit for the construction and operation of the Beacon Falls Energy Park. [Torrington Register Citizen]

¶ DTE Energy, a Detroit-based diversified energy company, says that its Pinnebog Wind Park in Huron County, Michigan, has now begun commercial operation. The wind project features 30 turbines and has the ability to produce 50 MW of renewable energy – enough to power more than 22,000 homes. [North American Windpower]

Wind turbines in Michigan (Photo by NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

Wind turbines (Photo by NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, public domain, Wikimedia Commons)

¶ Acciona Energy announced that its 93-MW San Roman Wind Farm had begun commercial operation. The facility is able to power more than 30,000 Texas homes. The project is expected also to generate $30 million in tax revenues during its 25-year lifespan in addition to $25 million-plus in lease payments to landowners. [Brownsville Herald]

¶ As he prepares to leave office, Governor Peter Shumlin of Vermont says he is confident that the regional and state economy is headed in the right direction even without Vermont Yankee’s 600-plus jobs in the mix. He says the state is better off without 605 MW of nuclear power production, because of renewables and efficiency. [Commons]

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